DCL vs Royal Advice needed

ashleyasiegel

Mouseketeer
Joined
Sep 29, 2009
I have been wanting to go on a Disney cruise for 20 years. However, the money keeps stopping me as there are lots of great cruise lines for less. My girls are 11 and 8 now so I feel like I need to do it soon before they outgrow it. They are already starting to prefer Universal to Disney as the rides are cooler.

We are heading to Orlando for Spring break (April 1 to 13) and plan to go to Universal one last time on our annual passes. So I started pricing out cruises as I am not spending 10 days at Universal. A 7 night Disney cruise is not going to happen...way too $$$$

So I was thinking of doing the 3 day and then maybe following it up with a 4 day on Royal to go to their private island. So get off one ship in the morning and then get on another that afternoon. I really wanted to do the 4 day but it $2700 for the extra night and I didn't think it was worth it.
OR
skip Disney cruise entirely and do a 7 day Eastern on Royal's Harmony of the Seas which looks amazing.

So just wondering if Disney is really worth it? I have been wanting to go on a Disney cruise for 20 years so I am so torn. Also has anyone done a back to back but on different cruise lines? My husband is would prefer the 7 day Royal as its a little cheaper and doesn't feel like Disney is worth the price. We have only sailed Carnival previously which was fine.
 

FigmentSpark

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 9, 2016
If you've been wanting to do it, then go for it. You'll never know if the decision was right for you unless you try it. And if you don't take this chance now, will you ever do it? Will you regret not doing it? Only you can answer these questions.
 

Geomom

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 17, 2010
The dates around Easter are some of the priciest for the Disney cruises. I agree that $2700 for 1 more night is too much. I also think the 3 nt cruise is just too short--you only get 2 full days on the ship. In your case, I'd probably do the Royal cruise, more days cruising is always better, especially if the ship looks good to you. I know you'd like to do Disney someday, it may mean waiting until you can go a 'cheaper' time of year.
 
  • wilafur

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Nov 5, 2018
    If DCL is a bucket list item, then definitely try and make it happen. I like the ideal of the b2b cruises on different lines, never thought about that before. Have fun!
     

    3monkeys4me

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 2, 2010
    I think your plan of Universal and a DCL/Royal combo sounds fun! The only downside I can see is that your trip is a little broken up/less relaxing and you get a little less ship time with the change. I would be okay with that, though some people really dislike that. That being said I've heard a lot of really good things about Harmony, though we haven't yet sailed on an Oasis class ship.

    We have been doing the same RCCL/DCL back and forth for our cruise during next fall break. We just cancelled our reservation on the Fantasy and booked Allure of the Seas. For us, it was a bit different though as we cancelled a 4 night Bahamas (we were also going to do some time at Universal pre cruise) in connecting veranda rooms to 7 nights Western Mediterranean with one ocean view balcony and one boardwalk balcony across the hall. We will be paying a couple hundred dollars less and the ports are a lot more interesting to us.
     

    MomOTwins

    The Mommy Fairy
    Joined
    Mar 5, 2018
    We've done the 3-day DCL cruise twice and LOVED it. We never felt it was too short, especially when adding other vacation around it as you plan to do.
     

    lklgoodman

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 25, 2016
    I have a 11 yr old dd also. She hasn't cared about the princesses or really any of the other characters for the past 3 years. It's kinda nice because we don't have to spend any time in lines to meet them. Even though she doesn't care for the characters, there's still a ton of other activities on the ships that she loves to do. I personally wouldn't want to do 2 separate cruises like that. The 3 day would be way too short, plus there's a lot of activities that aren't offered on the shorter cruises. I've only sailed on Disney so far but in your situation I would go for the 7 night Royal. It would be more relaxing, both planning for only one cruise and while on the cruise. We have neighbors who have done many Disney cruises. They went on a Royal cruise this summer and loved it. Can you go Jan or Feb? They recently came out with the winter 2021 cruises and they are cheaper at that time of year. I'd do the 7 night Royal, and then if you still want to do a Disney cruise look at doing one in 2021.
     
  • lilsonicfan

    <font color=teal>The TF knows Canada VERY well!!<b
    Joined
    Jan 20, 2003
    I would do the 7 night Royal for sure, that ship looks so great (some of their 3/4 day itineraries are on older ships) - I love longer cruises.
     

    3monkeys4me

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 2, 2010
    I would do the 7 night Royal for sure, that ship looks so great (some of their 3/4 day itineraries are on older ships) - I love longer cruises.
    Yes.. the ship on Royal makes a big difference, though some of the older ships that have been AMPed are pretty nice for families. But I wouldn't want to sail on some of the ships with my kids since there wouldn't be enough to keep the younger two entertained.
     

    fredandkell

    I'd rather be cruising
    Joined
    Apr 4, 2013
    We've done the 3-day DCL cruise twice and LOVED it. We never felt it was too short, especially when adding other vacation around it as you plan to do.
    This. Same. I feel like the three days and four days get a bad rap on this board but I think they are perfect for first cruises. If for some reason you don’t like the cruise, then you can get off the ship in three days. If you love it, then you can book on board and save 10% for a longer cruise next time. Plus the “leave them wanting more” mentality after getting off a shorter cruise lends to a lot of excitement when waiting for the next one.
     

    ScooterScott44

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 23, 2018
    OP since you have stated you cruised previously, it seems the dilemma is justifying the cost of DCL vs Royal. IMHO Disney is nice but it is getting harder to justify the difference. Both cruises are too close for what they offer to really say one is that much better than the other. Some people will enjoy DCL more and vice versa.

    The 7 day seems like it might be the better vacation. Not the worst thing to split it to a 3/4 but why? If the option is split cruises is just to get DCL experience, then you have to factor in you are really losing a day of vacation with the disembarkation/embarkation. If you haven't done Royal or DCL are you going to fairly judge either with back to back. There are positive and negatives to that approach, only you can tell if it might work for you. It could be helpful in comparing but it may not be the best vacation experience. So are you trying to vac-cay or rate the trips.

    Likely the kids will be fine on either cruise. The Oasis Class really have a ton to do and if they are even a little more adventurous they might find the Oasis options better. The Kids clubs work a little different. Our son likes both but the Royal kids clubs seems to work a little better for him. Royal groups the ages into smaller ranges (unless it is an itinerary with less kids, then they combine some). Likely with 8 and 11 they would be in different groups. Kids can move up and it is done with a combo of parents and counselor assessment (all the counselors on Royal have some sort of childhood development/education background).

    Good luck and happy cruising.
     
  • ScooterScott44

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 23, 2018
    Can't say how things have changed on the Oasis class activities since the introduction of the key. We were on Oasis a few years ago, so it might not have a direct correlation to the Harmony or now with the "key private times". In our experience we did have similar waits between the two lines for similar experiences, expect less waits while in port, etc.

    - Flow-rider had similar waits to aqua-duck, particularly much shorter lines while in port.
    - Mini-golf and other table games (ping-pong, etc) also a similar experience with never really a wait.
    - Climbing wall was only a short wait, even if only one side was open.
    - Zip line never seemed busy.
    - Carousel might have had a few kids waiting here and there but mostly it was walk on.
    - Oasis did not have the Abyss slide.
    - Oasis did not have the Perfect Storm slides.

    Pools
    - We did not really spend much time in the Splashaway Bay (H20 zone on Oasis) area.
    - Three pools for the general public so they never seemed as crowded as DCL. On the Oasis class we did not hit the Solarium pools, so not sure how the crowd gets there. Did use the Solarium pool on Ovation and the hot tubs got a little busier but not so much the pools in there.
     

    VeronicaZS

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 23, 2016
    Have you considered the 4 day that leaves out of Miami, it would be $4255? The 3 day on April 3 is $3630 and the 3 day on April 10 is $3954. If you have always dreamed of DCL this seems like a good time to do it, kids are a great age. Royal will always be there... Could you shave a few days off to make up the difference? Also, if you book through Costco you will get a cash card.
     

    lovedisney123

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 22, 2013
    We have a DCL cruise booked for spring break, but I am trying to convince my family to try RCCL the next time. I will say, we have been cruising DCL since 2000 when my kids were 6 years old. And I will also add that they loved (and still love) the cruise, in fact they begged to do it again this year. Their favorite years were the high school years. I know most people wouldn't think that, but the teen club is so much fun for them. They also talk about those days. So it isn't too late. But I understand wanting to consider RCCL. I really want to try one. I am just nervous to switch because I have the whole DCL process down to a science .lol
     

    KashasMom

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 28, 2012
    $2700 difference for one night is definitely not worth it! I thought the 4 night cruise was too short so a 3 night would really fly by. We have done a B2B on two different lines but each cruise was 7 nights. I do like your idea of the 3 night Disney and 4 night Royal but...I'm sure it is one of Royal's smaller ships, which in no way compares to the Harmony of the Seas. It would give you a taste of Disney though, if that's what you really want.

    The Harmony is a great ship (all the Oasis class ships are) but will you feel like you're missing out on Disney? I'd seriously compare the ships - read up on what each has to offer - and also read the daily activity papers (Disney's is the Navigator and Royals' is the Compass). My daughter started to outgrow the princesses and wanted a more "active" cruise when she was 6. That's when we did our first Oasis class cruise. It was the only time she asked to go back on a particular ship! We went on the Harmony last Nov. The Abyss, 3 cool slides (including the "toilet bowl"), Florider, Zipline, Rock Climbing Wall - all very cool - and exactly what my daughter loves. Harmony also has 4 nice pools. Shows are family friendly and there are tons of food options. I don't think you'd be unhappy on the Harmony. :-)
     

    starvenger

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2015
    I feel like the three days and four days get a bad rap on this board but I think they are perfect for first cruises.
    3-4 night cruises on non-DCL ships have been known to become "booze cruises". Less days = less money = more money for alcohol. So there is some risk of drunk people ruining your vacation, and it's not exactly easy to predict outside of maybe Spring Break.

    Anyone know... what are the line ups like for the "ton of things to do" on the Oasis class, vs the DCL stuff (Aquaduck, minigolf, sports, etc)
    OP was looking at Harmony, which has:
    - Carousel
    - Waterslides
    - Splash area for the little ones with slides and that giant bucket thing
    - Zipline
    - Rock wall
    - Flowrider
    - Escape room ($)
    - Abyss
    - Ice skating
    - Casino ($$)
    - Multipurpose court
    - Table tennis
    - Kids climbing thing (no idea what to call it)
    - karaoke
    - Activites on the promenade, such as: dance lessons and flash mobs
    - Parades
    - Card room/library
    - The Quest (Never done it, heard it's fun)
    - Not an actual activity, but watching folks go nuts with some of the "sidewalk" sales (which frankly aren't that great) is amusing

    Of note, there is no pool in the Adults area.
     

    Brendan Glynn

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Mar 16, 2018
    We held off taking Disney cruises for years because of the price. After our first one we said we would never go back to anything but Disney. Fast forward several years, we recently went back to try RCCL’s Symphony of the Seas and while it was a new ship with great shows, the entire experience fell short of the Disney Cruise experience.
     

    Mainsail Minnie

    Momketeer
    Joined
    Jul 28, 2019
    I love DCL & that's the only line we choose to cruise at this point, but I recommend the 7-night Royal cruise for you. Your kids are not enchanted with the characters & want "cooler" attractions than what Disney tends to offer, your husband wants the 7-night, and you're frugal with money. That's not a promising combination of factors to lead you to love a 3-night Disney cruise. I think you'd all enjoy the 7-night on Royal more.
     

    fredandkell

    I'd rather be cruising
    Joined
    Apr 4, 2013
    3-4 night cruises on non-DCL ships have been known to become "booze cruises". Less days = less money = more money for alcohol. So there is some risk of drunk people ruining your vacation, and it's not exactly easy to predict outside of maybe Spring Break.


    OP was looking at Harmony, which has:
    - Carousel
    - Waterslides
    - Splash area for the little ones with slides and that giant bucket thing
    - Zipline
    - Rock wall
    - Flowrider
    - Escape room ($)
    - Abyss
    - Ice skating
    - Casino ($$)
    - Multipurpose court
    - Table tennis
    - Kids climbing thing (no idea what to call it)
    - karaoke
    - Activites on the promenade, such as: dance lessons and flash mobs
    - Parades
    - Card room/library
    - The Quest (Never done it, heard it's fun)
    - Not an actual activity, but watching folks go nuts with some of the "sidewalk" sales (which frankly aren't that great) is amusing

    Of note, there is no pool in the Adults area.
    I was referring to the three and four night cruises on Disney. I agree with you there is no way I would take a three or four night Bahamas cruise on another line due to the drunken booze cruise factor you mentioned. Especially those lines like Norwegian that now offer unlimited drinks as part of the package. I used to like Norwegian but that has totally turned me off of them.
     

    Connect

    Disney News and Updates

    Get Daily Email Updates

    Book your Disney Cruise through Dreams Unlimited Travel and receive a Shipboard Credit and an Exclusive Gift Basket!



    CASTAWAY CAY PHOTOS

    DECK PLANS


    STATEROOMS


    ITINERARIES


    Top